Deadlift: Common Mistakes and How To Fix Them - Onward Richmond
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Over the years, there has been a lot of fear around the deadlift. However, picking things off the ground is one of the most fundamental human movements. Picking children off the ground, grabbing a laundry basket, and lifting the couch to vacuum all require a loaded hip hinge. Furthermore, despite fear of injury from deadlifts, a properly performed and progressively loaded deadlift can protect from low back injuries. Below are the most common form issues we see with the deadlift and our favorite cues to correct.

Deadlift squat set up fault:  The athletes set up will resemble a squat with the athlete being too upright, knees over the bar, and shoulders behind the bar.  We want the spine of the shoulder blade directly over the bar or shoulder just beyond the bar with the hips  a little higher to correct this fault. 

Deadlift rounded back fault: Unable to get a neutral spine and the athlete pulls with a rounded spine.   Cue the athlete to tighten up by asking them to squeeze oranges in their armpits or hold on to 20 dollar bills in their armpits

Deadlift over-extension fault:  This is when the athlete exaggerates the finish of the deadlift with a large arch in the back at the top. This puts undue stress on the lumbar spine.  Cue the athlete to perform a large glute squeeze instead of a big back arch. 

Deadlift descending bar set up fault: The athlete will shoot their knees forward first instead of sitting the hips back.  To correct this cue the athlete to sit their hips back. 

Deadlift ascending bar path fault: The athlete does not pull the bar into their legs and the bar floats out and around the knees.  Correction is to cue the athlete to bring their hips and chest up together.  

Lack of hip control:  You will see the athletes knees go into a valgus motion or cave inward.  Cue the athlete to spread the floor between their feet. 

IF you want more help dialing in the deadlift or have a history of back pain head over to and schedule your first appointment.